A Who's Who in polo is headed by Argentine 10-goalers Pablo MacDonough and Juan Martin Nero. The duo are currently in Argentina set to play for La Dolfina in the 126th Argentine Open final against Ellerstina on Dec. 14. With teammates Pelon Stirling and Adolfo Cambiaso, the quartet has won seven times in the last eight years, losing only to Ellerstina in 2012.
The idyllic setting for Thursday and Friday action of the St. Regis World Snow Polo Championship at Rio Grande Park.
MacDonough will compete for the second consecutive year in Aspen for the defending champion Richard Mille Polo Team. Last year he won his St. Regis debut with Marc Ganzi and Martin Pepa with a 6-5 victory over Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Juan Bollini). MacDonough was named Most Valuable Player.
Also in the Who's Who lineup of players are 8-goalers Alejandro Novillo Astrada and Nic Roldan, living legend Horacio Heguy and Nacho Figueras, both 6-goalers.
Richard Mille is the official timekeeper for the St. Regis World Snow Polo Championship. Mille created the RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo MacDonough for his Brand Ambassador.
Alejandro Novillo Astrada is a fourth generation player. He has won back-to-back U.S. Arena Handicap tournament titles in 2018 and 2017 and was MVP in 2017. He was MVP at the 2018 Bendura Bank Snow Polo World Cup Kitzbuhel which his team won.
Alejandro Novillo Astrada balances the ball on his mallet.
Roldan is coming off one of his most successful seasons at Grand Champions Polo Club in Wellington, Fla. Roldan was named MVP after GCPC-USA defeated France for an unprecedented eighth consecutive International Cup title.
The third generation polo player is is the youngest player ever to win the U.S. Open at age 15 in 1998 with Escue and one of America's top players and has competed in most of the sport's U.S. and international polo tournaments.
Roldan will get a chance to see the French players once again when the International Cup lineup of Pierre Henri Ngoumou, Louis Jarrige, Edouard Pan and Julien Reynes become the first French players to compete in the St. Regis World Snow Polo Championship. The foursome will compete on three different teams.
In addition to being title sponsor, St. Regis will return as a team sponsor with team captain Nacho Figueras, the sport's ambassador and St. Regis Connoisseur. Figueras will play with Nero and Jarrige making it the highest rated team inthe tournament at 19 goals.
The six team sponsors and rosters are:
Aspen Valley Polo Club (15): Sarah Siegel Magness 0, Jesse Bray 7, Patrick Uretz 8.
Flexjet (15): Melissa Ganzi 1, Juan Bollini 6, Alejandro Novillo Astrada 8.
Richard Mille (18): Edouard Pan 4, Julien Reynes 4, Pablo MacDonough 10.
Royal Salute (18): Pierre Henri Ngoumou 6, Malcolm Borwick 6, Horacio Heguy 6.
St. Regis (19): Louis Jarrige 3, Nacho Figueras 6, Juan Martin Nero 10.
U.S. Polo Assn. (15): Grant Ganzi 3, Juancito Bollini 4, Nic Roldan 8.
The players will take center stage at one of the world's top snow polo tournaments and only snow polo event in North America. It is one of Aspen's major international sporting events and kickoff to the holiday social season in Aspen.
For the seventh consecutive year, Aspen Valley Polo Club owners Melissa and Marc Ganzi, will host the star-studded event along with Figueras, the sport's ambassador and St. Regis Connoisseur and his wife Delfina Blaquier.
In front of an expected sellout crowd and worldwide ChukkerTV audience, four days of events will be held during the final stop on the 2019 World Polo Tour.
The week of activities begin with the team presentation and draw and introduction of official timekeeper Richard Mille on Tuesday, Dec. 17 during a cocktail party at St. Regis Aspen Resort Hotel.
Polo action will take place Wednesday through Friday at Aspen Valley Polo Club and Rio Grande Park. Two preliminary qualifying round robin games will be held Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Aspen Valley Polo Club in Carbondale.
Pablo MacDonough and Alejandro Novillo Astrada having fun before the 2018 final.
Action moves to Rio Grande Park in Aspen on Thursday for Media Day and High Alpine Cup game for fifth place at 1:15 p.m. followed by a Celebrity Polo Chukker at 2:30 p.m.
The final and subsidiary games are Friday at 1 and 3 p.m. followed by a VIP tent after party. Each night a dinner for players and sponsors will be held.
After three days of snow polo action and VIP tent closes down, fans will get a chance to party with the players for a good cause.
Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation, the designated philanthropic charity for the snow polo event, will host the "White Hot Party With The Players," on Friday, 6-9 p.m. at the new W Aspen Hotel. General admission tickets are $200. VIP tickets are $1,000 and include perks and exclusive benefits. To purchase tickets or browse online auction items, go to
A soldout VIP tent enjoying the 2018 final of the St. Regis World Snow Polo Championship.
In addition to Richard Mille (2018, Marc Ganzi, Martin Pepa, Pablo MacDonough), past St. Regis World Snow Polo Championship winners include 2017, U.S. Polo Assn. (Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Nic Roldan); 2016, Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Juan Bollini); 2015, U.S. Polo Assn. (Grant Ganzi, Nic Roldan, Juancito Bollini); 2014, Piaget (Marc Ganzi, Jeff Hall, Nic Roldan); and 2013, St. Regis (Nacho Figueras, Nic Roldan, Brandon Phillips).
The snow polo tournament is a major sports attraction for the local community and fans from all over the world. The breathtaking scenery, venue and great polo action is a major allure for the Aspen community and surrounding areas.
Rio Grande Park is Aspen's largest multi-functional park within the city's limits and just minutes away from the St. Regis Aspen Resort.
There's always time to pet the horses during snow polo.
Photos by Nick Tininenko for Aspen Valley Polo Club
In the U.S., snow polo is held exclusively in Aspen. Snow polo is a modified version of regulation polo. Games are played on a snow-packed field surrounded by fencing to keep the ball in play. Teams have three players instead of four as in typical polo. Play consists of four chukkers. The horses have special cleated shoes to provide better traction. The ball is larger and lighter and a specific color for visibility on the snowy surface.
The sport was first played on a frozen lake in St. Moritz, Switzerland, created by Swiss hotelier and polo visionary Reto Gaudenzi in 1985 and has been growing in popularity ever since, attracting thousands of spectators and top players from around the world. In addition to St. Moritz, it's played in winter sports communities Aspen, Cortina, Italy, Kitzbuhel, Austria, Courchevel, France and Tianjin, China. In the U.S., snow polo is held exclusively in Aspen.
Aspen Valley Polo Club had its most successful and historic summer season in club and Rocky Mountain Circuit history. The club hosted several 20-goal tournaments including the 119th USPA Silver Cup and USPA North American Cup, attracted some of the world's top players and had record crowds every weekend. The 20-goal World Polo League's Triple Crown of Polo tournament featured five teams and several top players.
With the majestic 12,965-foot summit of Mount Sopris as a backdrop, Aspen Valley Polo Club is one of the busiest USPA-sanctioned clubs in the nation. Since Marc and Melissa Ganzi founded the club in 2014, polo has increased in popularity in Aspen and surrounding cities with the club's offerings of various weekly grass and arena tournaments, Tuesday Arena & Asado Nights, Kidz Polo, The Polo School headed by former 8-goaler Juan Bollini, and Polo On Demand. In addition, the club offers practice sessions for teams competing in the club tournaments.
Since 2014, Aspen Valley Polo Club has had a positive impact in the area hosting kids polo camps, teaching lessons and several charitable events at the club that have benefitted local charities including the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation.